Rose Garden at Dusk

A large part of the magic of feltmaking connects to the elements of experimentation and surprise.  Not all of these experiments are successful; many of the surprises are not pleasing.  In the studio today, I’m trying to create a very sculptural “nuno” (fiber plus silk fabric) scarf.   The image in my mind as I begin — selecting, cutting, ironing the silk fabric — is of a rose garden at dusk.

Many summers ago I took a watercolor course for which the instructor arranged permission for the class to set up our easels in various gardens.  Since the class time overlapped dusk, as we worked the light changed dramatically.  Intensely observing the colors of the gardens as I painted, I noticed a moment around dusk as the light faded when the colors of the flowers glowed with a kind of neon phosphorescence.  It was as if every flower suddenly turned on its lights. I imagined this is what night-feeding creatures must be seeing. With this change in light and temperature, the scents of the garden changed.

Perhaps this “Rose Garden at Dusk” scarf, when completed, will look like a lush garden; and maybe it will look like a rose garden in the aftermath of a really wicked hailstorm.  I know that I’m going to learn something today.  And whether I learn that “Yes! I can do sculptural designs on top of silk fabric and figure out how to get those fibers to successfully migrate through the fabric without the whole piece turning to mush!” or “Nope.  Too thick, wrong colors, wrong technique, generally yucky,” it’s productive time.

In my studio work, I aim to celebrate and honor the beautiful, natural fibers I use as well as the natural world.  I hope to move others, too:  to notice/remember/desire/wonder/care/act…

Published in: on April 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm  Comments (2)  

Hawk Scarf

Inspired by the Cooper’s Hawk that lives in the hemlocks on our property, I carded and spun the yarn for this long scarf many months ago, and just finished crocheting it.  To vary the pattern, I carded fibers separately: for the earthy colors I combined dark brown yak, baby camel, several shades of adult alpaca, merino and silk fibers.  The white areas are merino, silk, kid mohair and curly “locks.”  I hand-spun these carded batts, and to accent the different colors and textures, I used a simple crochet stitch for the white, so I could more easily tease out the little curls of the white “locks” here and there; and I used a triple crochet stitch for the darker areas that are a thinner yarn, creating open areas throughout the scarf.  Even thought the scarf is quite long — 8 feet long by a bit over 3 inches wide — it weighs less than four ounces.  I made a pin from a beautiful mother-of-pearl button to cinch the scarf.   The title for this series is “The Hawk’s Dream” because when I combine these “hawk” colors with accents of little curly “locks” the image in my mind is a hawk soaring over a field where sheep graze — I’m wondering what’s going on in that hawk’s mind.


Published in: on April 3, 2011 at 2:08 pm  Comments (2)